What Happens When They Want a Kitten and You Only Have Grown Cats?

Our rescue is not like a lot of other rescues – we’re definitely not better, we’re just a bit different. We don’t save as many cats as many of the other wonderful rescues, like SALT Saving Animals’ Lives Together, Animal Love Foundation, Heavenly Hills Animal Sanctuary, and Animal Aide of St. Thomas-Elgin to name just a few of the great local rescues, but we do what we can. We don’t need to travel too far to find cats that need our help, and invariably, more often than not, the ones we find are feral.

Feral cats aren’t like strays, or litters of kittens; they come with their own set of complex issues that require more time and attention to successfully rehabilitate. They are, essentially, wild cats that don’t like people. You’ve seen them, and if you’re smart, you’ve stayed out of their way.

If you’ve ever heard the term TNR, that’s what most rescues do with feral felines – Trap, Neuter, Release. It controls the population, extends life expectancy, and helps curb disease in the wild cat world. TNR is a humane alternative to just leaving those animals to fend for themselves, fighting, reproducing, spreading diseases.

Since we do our rescue from our home, we have the advantage of being able to spend time rehabilitating these feral souls, and we have had much success in getting the wild out of them and domesticating them. Fix the body, nourish the soul, find the love.

It’s not magic, it’s pure patience and care. Eventually, every feral cat that we bring in transforms into a semi-normal house cat (is there even such a thing as a “normal” cat? hmmmm). Not all our cats came to us feral, but a good number of them did. We do our best to cure them of that.

Is it a second chance, or is it their last chance?

Here’s a truism: you can’t teach a cat how to use a litter box, you can only stand there and watch until they get it right. And they will, eventually. Without your help. The fiercely independent feline is only a kitten very briefly, and the companions they become are influenced very little by those few months where they are still growing into their oversized ears and paws.

We do understand the cute factor when it comes to wanting to adopt a kitten and there are many of them out there in need of good homes! In many instances, however, we end up sending prospective adopters to other rescues. The kittens find homes quickly, the cats take longer. Our concern is that once the kittenness fades, will the interest in caring and being attentive fade, too? We are only too relieved when we don’t have to vet potential kitten adopters.

Along with our feral cat population are the strays and the drop-offs – most drop-offs being cats that the family has lost interest in taking care of, or the kittens and young adults of cats that were not spayed or neutered. Through no fault of their own, these creatures pay the ultimate price for humanity’s selfishness and ignorance.

It is frankly offensive to consider a rescued cat as having a “second chance.” If one of these poor souls ends up in our care, we are not giving him/her a second chance, we become their last chance at a humane life. The alternative to the life we hope to be able to offer is the life that they are living – unthinkable and cruel, infuriating and heartbreaking. 

We have excellent cats that need excellent homes. If you’re not in this for the long haul, don’t fill out an application, don’t waste your time, ours, and most importantly, don’t you dare recklessly take the life of an innocent one into your world if you’re not going to give it your all.

“If you ain’t with us, you’re against us.” -Slim Dunlap